A Royal Caribbean cruise ship bartender assigned to a suspected coronavirus-stricken ship two days after its passengers were evacuated has died after being admitted to a Florida hospital with severe respiratory issues, according to a report.
Dexter Joyosa, a native of the Philippines who worked aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, died Saturday at a hospital in Broward County, the Miami Herald reports.
“It is with great sadness that I now let you know that our fellow team member, bartender Dexter Joyosa, passed away at a Broward hospital this afternoon,” the captain of the 1,187-foot ship told colleagues, according to a recording obtained by the newspaper. “He was close to all of us and he was a fantastic employee.”
Joyosa reported for duty on the ship in Miami on March 15 — two days after the cruise industry canceled all new trips and the same day the vessel disgorged its passengers.
One week earlier, Royal Caribbean reps had informed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about a possible COVID-19 infection aboard the vessel, according to the federal agency.
After passengers were evacuated, managers told employees to utilize some of the ship’s amenities, including its pool and buffet, crew members told the Herald.
Passengers from the ship then got an email on March 26 informing them of possible exposure to the coronavirus while on board. Two days later, crew members still on the ship were told of their possible exposure before being isolated, the Herald reports.
It’s unclear whether Joyosa died from COVID-19. Messages seeking comment from Broward County’s medical examiner and the Florida Department of Health were not immediately returned.
A rep for Royal Caribbean, meanwhile, declined to comment when asked for additional details Monday.
“Out of respect for the family and for confidentiality of our employees, we would defer you to the appropriate local authorities,” the company rep wrote in an email. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and crew.”
At least 14 Oasis of the Seas crew members have been diagnosed with coronavirus and nine have been evacuated to hospitals, the Herald reports.
Joyosa, whose Facebook profile says he started with the company in 2012, is the second Royal Caribbean worker to die in Florida within the past week.
A 27-year-old crew member from Indonesia on the Symphony of the Seas died on April 12 from COVID-19 — one of at least three cruise ship workers who have died from the illness at South Florida hospitals in recent weeks, according to the newspaper.